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In a tough economy, local job fair helps
061708 JOB FAIR 3
Recent Georgia Southern University graduate Stephanie Kea, 23, right, practices her interviewing skills with W. Hunter Logan of Hunter Photography in Savannah at the 2008 Southeast Georgia Regional Job Fair and Career Expo Tuesday at Georgia Southern University's Nessmith-Lane Continuing Education Building.
    More than 600 job seekers gathered at Georgia Southern’s Nessmith-Lane Building last week for the 2008 Southeast Georgia Regional Job Fair and Career Expo.
    The free event, sponsored by the Georgia Department of Labor, played host to companies from all over southeast Georgia seeking to fill open positions with quality candidates.
    “More than 80 companies are present today that are hiring, and they represent hundreds of jobs open today,” said Mel Wages, employment and training consultant with the Georgia Department of Labor.
    Wages said within the first 45 minutes of the event, more than 400 potential employees had taken advantage of what the event had to offer.
    Not only could job seekers talk to employers, he said, but they could also attend career workshops that would allow them to learn interview skills, improve their resumes, learn tips on searching for jobs and use computers to apply for jobs online while still at the job fair.
    Doug Snyder, district manager of Kelly Services, a staffing company that places skilled workers in contract positions at companies such as Gulfstream, said he always looks forward to attending job fairs and meeting potential employees.
    “This kind of job fair is so successful because we get way more traffic here than other job fairs,” said Snyder. “We get a lot better quality people when we come to this job fair.”
    Snyder said attending the sponsored event helped his company save a little money during economic hard times.
    “With the current economic status, we look to cut costs any way we can, and coming to these free jobs fairs helps us reach quality candidates at no cost to us,” he said.
    The event was open to all ages and did not target one group. Pam Raymond, a Statesboro mother of seven, was looking for a job and was surprised to find many adults in attendance.
    “I’m very pleased with the event today. I thought it would be more college students, but it isn’t. It’s adults who are looking for a career.”
    Raymond was searching for not only a good job, but also hoped to find the right employer at the job fair.
    “I’d like the person I work for to be understanding, a pleasant person – someone you can relate to,” she said. “I’d like to find an employer that is somewhat accommodating. Sometimes you have to choose between your job and your family, and that’s hard.”
    Raymond said she intended to take advantage of the career workshops offered at the event.
    “I’m looking forward to going up to the workshops,” said Raymond. “I think they are really good because they help you with your resume, what to say and not to say, how to dress – they make you job ready.”
    And according to Paula Scott, principal of Liberty County High School, how an applicant presents him or herself at the job fair is vital.
     “First impressions are certainly important,” said Scott. “Not so much the physical appearance, but how you introduce yourself and if you’re willing and comfortable talking about yourself.”
    Although the current status of the economy has some employers trying to cut costs, Michelle Lank from the Kid’s World Learning Center said she doesn’t want to cut quality.
    “We are trying not to cut back (on employees) because that would cut back our quality (of service), so we’re looking for more specific qualities in candidates such as those we wouldn’t have to train much.”
    Lank said the turn out at the job was promising, and that she had found a few quality candidates.
“From looking through the initial stock – we definitely have two to three people that we’ll hire right off the bat. That’s outstanding,” she said.
    Wages, the director of the event, said he was confident that employers and job seekers alike would benefit from the job fair.
    “This is a win/win situation for the job seeker and the employer,” said Wages.  “Where else can you go to have access to more than 80 employers in one place? And employers will collect hundreds of applications today. It is one of the best ways to collect applications and meet potential employees.”
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